2020 marks 100 years of women’s right to vote, but the fight towards equality continues to stay relevant around the globe.
CSUSB hosted its third annual 50/50 Movement on September 17. Students, faculty, and the community were invited to join the movement through the virtual platform, Zoom.
In total, 149 staff, faculty, and students gathered on Zoom for this event. According to Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Denise Banuelos, the previous year saw 80 in attendance for the in-person event.
The 50/50 Movement is a global initiative aimed to discuss how to improve society and guarantee a more gender-balanced world. Keynote speaker Eloise Gomez Reyes, five panelists, and a guest speaker tackled the conversation on women power throughout the event.
“We have to work together to alter the criteria many people use when depicting leaders,” said CSUSB President Tomas D. Morales in his opening remarks. “We must continue providing role models for the girls and young women today.”
The event began with a short film that focused on how gender balance would shift our culture as a whole. It also showed clips of people pledging to create change on the road to a 50/50 world.
Jacob Chacko, CSUSB’s Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion, took the pledge towards gender balance in the workplace.
[su_quote cite=Chacko] I pledge to empower all women and bring them up with me as I move into and navigate positions of power.[/su_quote]
Eloise Gomez Reyes, who represents California’s 47th Assembly District, spoke on her experiences and the importance of standing up for what is right. She said that movements like this give her hope for the future.
“In order to accomplish what the 50/50 Movement is calling for, it’s going to take young people to get civically engaged,” Reyes said. “It’s going to take your generation to right the wrongs of those before you, including my generation.”
Although she doesn’t mean that this generation needs to be policy makers, she does mean that speaking up against inequity is essential to creating change.
[su_quote cite=Reyes] These movements don’t happen overnight. [/su_quote]
Reyes reflected on how far she has come and the challenges she faced throughout her life.
After turning down her scholarship to USC, Reyes earned her A.A. from San Bernardino Valley College. She soon earned her undergraduate degree from USC and became the first Latina attorney to open her own law practice.
Reyes also talked about her devastation after running for congress in 2014 and losing. Afterwards, she ran for the assembly in 2016, won, and was re-elected in 2018.
In her closing remarks, Reyes expressed the importance of never giving up and helping each other when at a loss.
ASI President Graciela Moran facilitated a Q&A after Reyes’ speech and attendees were given the opportunity to ask any questions they had.
This year’s panel theme was “Women Power: Pull the next one up!” Professor Kathryn Ervin moderated the discussion between the five panelists.
The panel consisted of Elahe Amani, Educator and Administrator CSU Fullerton; A’shanti Gholar, President of Emerge; Mily Treviño-Sauceda, Co-Founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas; and David Baker, Professor Emeritus of Public Administration, CSUSB.
Topics included the gender gap in the corporate world, leadership impact, racial identity, and women empowerment.
Banuelos said that throughout this event, the discussion panel stood out to her the most.
“We received different perspectives from our panelists on how to approach this effort,” said Banuelos. “More specifically, a point made by panelist David Baker, Professor Emeritus of Public Administration, CSUSB, ‘involve others in decisions that affect them’ resonated with me because this applies to everyone to effectively create a culture of inclusion and belonging.”
The last section of the event was a presentation from the Riverside coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, Janet Bernarbe. She explained the organization’s focus on issues of immigration, education, workers rights, healthcare, and voting rights.
Banuelos closed the event by encouraging everyone in attendance to take the pledge towards a more gender-balanced world.
“It was our goal to provide a meaningful discussion to keep everyone engaged and learn more about the movement that would motivate them to take action for a more gender-balanced community that is better for everyone,” Banuelos said.